Jack and Gill Childcare and Forest School           

The natural approach to learning

We help to build confident, imaginative and respectful children.

The theory is that humans are wired to like things that are good for us and our survival, which is why trees and the great outdoors can help lift our moods.

In our care, children learn how to help manage woodlands - planting, pruning, coppicing, charcoal making, wood chopping, sawing and a lot of other jobs that is required to maintain a woodland to achieve its maximum health.

When on our base in Rudgwick, we offer free flow with access to the outdoors all day and continue here with our forest school approach to learning.

"Learning that flows seamlessly between indoors and outdoors makes the most efficient use of resources and builds on interests and enthusiasms."

Children need to be outside and they also need to experience all types of weather and the seasons.

Being outside in day care should not be seen as an optional extra. Daily outdoor experiences is a must for children's learning and development.

Outdoor play supports children's problem solving skills and nurtures their creativity. It provides rich opportunities for developing imagination, inventiveness and resourcefulness. When supported by a skilful practitioner, the children make significant progress in their learning. We look closely at their emotional and intellectual abiliites and find out what they can do.

"Play is the answer to how anything new comes about" - Jean Piaget.

"Play is the highest form of research" - Albert Einstein

Children need an outdoor environment that can provide them with space, both upwards and outwards, and places that they can explore, experiment, discover, be active and healthy, and where they can develop their physical capabilities.




The focus is on your child

Play is widely accepted as a valuable, fun and rewarding experience for children.

However, the current focus on raising educational standards in England has resulted in a decreased emphasis on the importance of play as a child led learning process and an increased emphasis on adult led learning.

Play is a child's inborn wish to explore their world. They are exploring uncertainty, they are taking themselves beyond that and beyond what they know and understand and into what they are curious about and want to know about.

Children learn through making mistakes.

Children need space and time to play and have understanding adults around them that recognise the importance of play.

Forest school is focused on child led play and facilitated by trained staff.

The children learn to develop their team work, they physically develop, socially develop and their imaginary play is outstanding.

In child led play, children follow their own deep play patterns coded into their body and developing brains. They can be deeply engrossed in their own world or interacting and playing with other children. This type of play is extremely beneficial. It allows children to figure things out for themselves and to learn how to take healthy risks. To find innovative ways to think about the world and how it works, based upon their own discoveries and interests. They will practice necessary skills such as overcoming obstacles, creative problem solving on their own or with their friends, and to communicate their feelings effectively with others.

Years of research shows that child directed play fosters the development of the whole child - their cognitive, social, emotional and physical skills.

It contributes to school success and it is a necessary part of every child's life.


We are registered small holders. We have 8 goats, 20 chickens and 7 ducks. We also have 3 dogs, lots of different reptiles, 5 guinea pigs and a rabbit. We believe that children should have responsibility from a young age and helping to care for a living creature gives the children the opportunity to grow into a responsible, social and confident adult. Animals are there for cuddles and strokes but they also teach us that there is more to life than just ourselves. Through animal experiences, children become more curious, respectful and appreciative of living things.

Outdoor learning

It is a proven fact that being outdoors reduces stress, it calms the brain and opens it up to be more receptive to learning.

There is a freedom associated with the vastness of space, which cannot be replicated inside, no matter how many windows a building is given.

Exercise also helps children’s emotional well being, encouraging relaxation, calmness and a better sense of well being (Armstrong 1996).

Past generations of children have always spent time outdoors. It is widely recognised that these experiences make a positive impact on children in many aspects of their development and health.

Children need experiences where they can be excited, noisy, energetic and messy.

They need to dream, imagine, invent and fantasize.

They need to create, construct or deconstruct.

They need to investigate, experiment, explore and discover.

They need to be able to develop their gross motor skills by running, jumping, balancing, negotiating space.

They need to be able to dig, grow, nurture and cultivate.

They need to be able to hide, relax, find calm and reflect.

They need to have responsibility, be independent and to collaborate with others.

Children need to have lots of opportunities to play in imaginary play and if this does not happen it can have great repercussions later in life as it could deter their will to explore and learn.





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